Flexible tools and platforms for a changing world

146/365 square peg into a round hole By rosipaw on flickr

square peg into a round hole By rosipaw on flickr

In the IT world, we tend to take a single-minded approach to our technology platforms.   We have email systems. We have web systems. We have HR and Finance systems.

Many organizations are implementing collaboration tools and social tools in the enterprise.  But…most organizations are implementing these platforms with blinders on without long-term plans for how those tools might need to adapt for how users really want to use it.

As we’ve seen in recent days/weeks in events around the world….technology is being used for much more than that. Technology is being adapted for their situation.  They are using the tools at hand in ways that weren’t really considered when those tools were created.

Linda Tucci had a great comment on this in her recent post titled Egypt’s CIO lesson: We use IT tools in ways unintended by toolmakers. She writes:

The truth is that tools take on a life of their own once put in the hands of human beings, who, by nature, are innovative. People are hard-wired to adapt tools in ways the toolmaker never intended — sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.

Very true.

How many times have you seen a technology platform implemented within a company to find that nobody uses it…or….people use it differently than planned?  It happens often.

If you are planning a new technology implementiation, are you thinking about how your people will use that technology? Are you thinking about how that technology might be used (or not used) once implemented. Are you thinking about the culture of your organization and how the technology fits with that culture.

You know people will attempt to use a technology differently than originally planned…so are you planning for those changes to come in the future? How will your technology strategy & platforms accommodate these changes.

Something to keep in mind during your next technology assessment / technology selection project…you don’t want to build a square peg today and find that you have a round hole next year, do you?

Image Credit: square peg into a round hole By rosipaw on flickr

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  • Scot Herrick

    If we could only predict “unintended consequences”…

    • If I could predict “unintended consequences”, I’d be a very wealthy man.